Customer Loyalty

Last week, I encountered the phrase customer loyalty at several places and I experienced a growing feeling of uneasiness with it. Johnny Moore has also written a blog entry about this.

The phrase customer loyalty and the way it is used suggests a mental model in which the customer – company relationship is not “balanced”, not reciprocal, but mostly unidirectional and based on punishment and rewards. It’s about companies trying to get customers to be loyal using carrots and sticks (well, discounts, air miles, trading stamps, and stuff like that) – a mental model in which a customer being loyal to a company is like a dog being loyal to its owner? It feels a bit manipulative to me, being all about the customer, but without getting him/her involved.